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Christopher Tappin to be extradited to US over missile charges
12:01pm Friday 13th January 2012 in Crime
A RETIRED businessman has lost his High Court battle against extradition to the United States, where he faces charges of conspiring to sell parts for Iranian missiles.
Christopher Tappin, 64, of Farnborough Park, Orpington, denies unlawfully attempting to export batteries for Hawk air defence missiles and says he was the victim of entrapment in an FBI "sting".
However, two judges sitting in London ruled that the entrapment argument was "unsustainable" and it would not be "oppressive" to extradite him.
Later Tappin said: "I am thoroughly disappointed in today's judgment. I was relying on the British justice system to protect me from false allegations made by a maverick government agency clearly operating outside the law in the US. Our extradition laws completely fail to prevent such improper extraditions.
"I fear for the impact on my family and close friends. I'll now consider all my options and do what I can to bring an end to this nightmare."
The ruling by Lord Justice Hooper and Mr Justice Cranston at the High Court in London is part of a long legal battle against sending Tappin to the US, where he could face a possible 35 years in jail if convicted.
The president of the all-Kent Golf Club Union is wanted in El Paso, Texas, for allegedly trying to conduct business without obtaining the appropriate licences for "defence articles".
Tappin, a former director of Surrey-based Brooklands International Freight Services, has said he believed he was exporting batteries for the car industry in the Netherlands. He challenged a decision made in February last year by district judge John Zani at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court that extradition could go ahead.
Edward Fitzgerald QC, appearing for Tappin, told the High Court at a hearing in December that his client was the victim of an abuse of power.
The QC said FBI agents pretending to belong to a fictitious export company known as Mercury Global Enterprises (MGE) set out to "dupe, deceive and ensnare" unsuspecting businessmen, such as Tappin, based in the UK
Kaim Todner Solicitors said in a statement: "Yet again this one sided treaty is set to destroy another British citizen's life.
"We would urge the government to take urgent action to review this treaty and to stop these horrendous extraditions.
"We will now be lodging an application to certify a point of law of public importance to take this case to the Supreme Court."
Orpington MP Jo Johnson told News Shopper: "The extradition law is complex and the government has committed to reviewing whether the US/UK extradition treaty needs to be reviewed or not.
"I am confident that they will be looking closely at arguments made in favour of reform."